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The Last Unicorn Paperback – Nov 8 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Roc Trade; Reissue edition (Nov. 8 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451450523
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451450524
  • Product Dimensions: 13.6 x 1.8 x 20.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 240 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (168 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #14,530 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

The Last Unicorn is one of the true classics of fantasy, ranking with Tolkien's The Hobbit, Le Guin's Earthsea Trilogy, and Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. Beagle writes a shimmering prose-poetry, the voice of fairy tales and childhood:

The unicorn lived in a lilac wood, and she lived all alone. She was very old, though she did not know it, and she was no longer the careless color of sea foam but rather the color of snow falling on a moonlit night. But her eyes were still clear and unwearied, and she still moved like a shadow on the sea.

The unicorn discovers that she is the last unicorn in the world, and sets off to find the others. She meets Schmendrick the Magician--whose magic seldom works, and never as he intended--when he rescues her from Mommy Fortuna's Midnight Carnival, where only some of the mythical beasts displayed are illusions. They are joined by Molly Grue, who believes in legends despite her experiences with a Robin Hood wannabe and his unmerry men. Ahead wait King Haggard and his Red Bull, who banished unicorns from the land.

This is a book no fantasy reader should miss; Beagle argues brilliantly the need for magic in our lives and the folly of forgetting to dream. --Nona Vero

About the Author

Peter S. Beagle, a World Fantasy Award nominee, is the bestselling author of the fantasy classic The Last Unicorn as well as many other highly acclaimed works. His novels and stories have been translated into sixteen languages worldwide, and his long and fascinating career has covered everything from journalism and stage adaptations to songwriting and performances. He has given readings, lectures, and concerts of his own songs from coast to coast, and has written several screenplays, including Ralph Bakshi's film version of The Lord of the Rings.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie Noverraz on March 31 2004
Format: Paperback
"The Unicorn lived in a lilac wood, and she lived all alone..."
But when one day she overhears two hunters arguing about the existence, or not, of her kind, she starts wondering if she's indeed the last unicorn, and sets off on a quest to find others like her. Nobody believes in fairy tales anymore and everyone she meets thinks she's nothing more than a white mare. Even Mommy Fortuna, who captures her one night while she's indiscreetly sleeping on the edge of a wood, and puts her in a cage to entertain and impress customers of her Midnight Carnival, alongside other animals that the witch turns into various illusory mythical beasts. Hopefully, one of Fortuna's assistants, Schmendrick the wannabe magician, recognizes the unicorn for what she really is. He releases her, and travelling together, meeting a new companion called Molly Grue on the way, they make for King Haggard's cursed castle. There lives the terrible Red Bull, the blind, devilish creature responsible for the disappearance of the unicorns, or so they've heard.
The Last Unicorn is a real fairy tale, where everything seems to happen in a kind of ethereal, parallel reality. Beagle’s style is such that every place, every character, and every action that takes place is hard to focus on, as if it were a dream that you're trying to remember. And on the other hand, it approaches very real themes, ones you can relate to, such as finding who you are and what you want to be, or making the right choices and compromises in your life... I won't say I understood it all, but I was charmed by this deep, very poetic, and sad tale of love and magic, good and evil, by this quest for seasons of candor, when we believe in fairy tales and legendary creatures.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By mp on Jan. 21 2004
Format: Paperback
Along with the rest of the civilized world, my wandering memories often lead me back to two of my favorite childhood movies, "The Neverending Story" and "The Last Unicorn." Practically all I could remember of the latter was some skull yelling "Unicorn! Uuuunicorn!" That image and that voice have left a lingering discomfort in the back of my mind for years. A while back, I found a little time to investigate Michael Ende's novel, "The Neverending Story," and just recently, I managed to come across a copy of "The Last Unicorn," and I couldn't help but read it. In both cases, these novels have more than repayed my childhood memories, giving my adult mind philosophical and literary substance as well as real joy. Peter S. Beagle's 1968 novel, "The Last Unicorn," is much more than a simple fantasy story - though it is rife with magicians, mythical creatures, and all of the customary trappings. It is even more than a complex fantasy story - somehow Beagle enchants us into a timeless place where nothing seems unusual - "The Last Unicorn" creates a space for magic in our modern lives.
The novel begins as a unicorn overhears two hunters riding through her wood - the hunters debate whether unicorns exist anymore. The unicorn begins to wonder if indeed she is the last of her kind, and goes in search of other unicorns. She is caught sleeping by Mommy Fortuna, owner of the Midnight Carnival, who displays the unicorn for a time alongside a real harpy and a motley bunch of meek, hopeless animals who are made, through Fortuna's magic, to resemble other dangerous mythical beasts for the entertainment of travellers, tourists, and townsfolk.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Severa on Nov. 14 2002
Format: Paperback
This book is shimmering with magic and beauty. It is just as otherwordly as the fairy-tales you loved as a child, and yet it somehow more than that. It has its own mood, its own atmosphere. Somehow, it seems as though all the characters are aware of the world they live in, as real people never are. This is not a dream pretending to be real. This reality well aware that it is a dream.
The charakters are simple and yet each serves a purpose. Each is distinct and well-drawn, from the amusing Smendrick and the strong Molly the tragic Unicorn and the wrecked king Haggard. And even though you instantly "see" each character, they are all more than what they apear to be. All of them seem to have that second layer wich makes them deeper and more meaningul. They are both simple and many-layered. And all of them are tragic, and yet filled with hope.
The story is written in a language full of delightful images, with so musical lines its almost like poetry from time to time. I've never read anything quite like this book, and that is saying a lot. Scenes and sentenses keep popping back into my head, even when I'm thinking about something quite unrelated.
But the thing that really sets this book apart is that even though it is wonderfuly inreal, it feels true. It feels though the world of the unicorn is more true than the real world. It almost hurts to go back.
Go on. Buy this book. Spend a few hours in a magical dream-land. We all need some enchantment in our lives.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 10 2004
Format: Paperback
Beagle is a gifted writer and the story line is original with great potential. Unfortunately, the telling of the story can't decide if it is fantasy or parody. Or perhaps it is parody and I wanted it to be fantasy. Beagle builds beautiful images with his prose only to topple them with flippant dialog and pointless actions. The ending is completely unsatisfying. Throughout the story, tension builds over the Red Bull, the nemesis of the unicorn, but when a confrontation takes place, the scene dissipates benignly and the story coasts to a bittersweet end.
There are many elements here to enjoy, so it is worth the read; just don't expect too much. If you're looking for good fantasy, keep looking.
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